BRAZIL

Tite talks Vinicius, Rodrygo, Casemiro and Neymar in AS exclusive

Brazil coach Tite paid a visit to the AS newsroom, where he spoke about the upcoming World Cup and gave his unique insight on Vinicius, Rodrygo, Casemiro and Neymar.

Tite’s head is in two places at the same time: one being the tough defeat to Belgium in the quarter finals of Russia 2018; and the other, the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

While losing to Belgium still torments his thoughts because it was then that Brazil played “their best match of the tournament”, his mind is also very much focused on Qatar, where he and his side have a chance to make up for that bitter loss.

The Brazil coach has been in Spain this week and took the opportunity to visit the AS newsroom. Accompanied by ex-Atlético Madrid player and current coordinator of the Canarinha, Juninho, Tite took the time for an informal chat, where he spoke about the goal of winning the World Cup and gave his unique insight on players such as Casemiro, Neymar, Rodrygo and Vinicius.

Tite (L) and Juninho (R) hand AS deputy editor, Alejandro Elortegui (C), a Brazil shirt during the Brazil coach's visit to the newsroom in Madrid.

Tite on blooding the new generation for Qatar

“Our goal is to win the Qatar World Cup,” Tite says with conviction.

"People talk a lot about Copa América and the Olympic Games but we are going to start the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup now and this is our ultimate goal,” adds Juninho with the same assertiveness as the coach.

Both of them see things very clearly: next summer's tournaments will serve as an opportunity to blood young players and start the formation of the squad that they hope to bring to Qatar.

“For me, it is better that a kid comes with more experience under his belt to face a challenge like the one against Belgium. Without taking anything away from the responsibility of playing a Copa América or Olympic Games, these two tournaments this year can serve as a platform to develop the youngest within the base of the national team, with the World Cup in mind," Tite explains.

At the same time, he does recognise that it is a strategy that can draw criticism: “Because you are going to take younger players, people are already starting to say that you are looking for excuses in case you lose. But it's not like that. When you are Brazil, the obligation to win is always there. But what you have to understand is that there is a greater objective and this objective is to win at Qatar 2022. And for that we need to have players ready for a World Cup.”

Tite y Fernando Kallás.

Tite with AS jounalist, Fernando Kallás.

Vinicius and Rodrygo: the future

Among these younger players are Vinicius and Rodrygo, both of whom have already debuted for the senior team. "Vinicius and Rodrygo are players who are going through the development and maturing stage. They are very young players with different characteristics. Rodrygo is, at heart, a technically brilliant and intelligent player – more refined. Vinicius is a winger, he is more about individual than combination plays – a dribbler, fast-paced and wilder,” Tite says of the two young Real Madrid forwards. 

Vinicius has had his issues when it comes to scoring but it is not something that concerns the Brazil coach. "I am not worried about Vinicius' problems in front of goal He is still a very young player and he needs to develop his finishing because it is a virtue that he did not have when he played in Brazil either. People have to understand that he is a developing player,” he adds.

Vinicius in action for Real Madrid against Celta Vigo.

"Alex Ferguson used to say that before talking with a player you have to understand the reality in which he lives. So I talked a lot with Casemiro. Before the game against Peru, when I planned to bring on Vinicius, Casemiro told me: ‘Guide him well, boss. Have a good talk with him, make it very clear and explain everything he has to do – mainly on the defensive side because he needs guidance. Vinicius has a good character and a good attitude. He is charismatic and is always open to learn and improve, but you have to teach him things. He needs to be guided. Talk to him, he will listen to you.’ So I talked to him and everything went great," Tite reveals about the week he spent with Vinicius last September.

"Rodrygo is already a little different. He already has a very well defined tactical perception. I remember that I spoke to him the first time and straightaway he knew exactly what I wanted. He had it all very clear. They are players with different styles and they don't compete for the same position in the national team. They complement each other and you can use them as you need,” said Tite.

Casemiro: Tite's voice on the field

Casemiro is a constant topic in any conversation with the Brazilian coach. Real Madrid’s midfield anchor is his most trusted man on the field.

“From a technical perspective, the leadership of Brazil comes from Neymar. At the key moment, everyone looks to him, because he can solve the problem. Casemiro is the competitive leader, the tactical leader. He knows the workings of the game precisely and we just need a glance to understand each other,” he explains.

Brazil's leaders, Casemiro and Neymar.

A smile forms on Tite’s face as he continues to talk about the Madrid player: “Casemiro used to play at ten for Brazil. When he fell back to a more retreated position, he really began to grow. The first player in the centre of the field has to be a specialist in that role. The area covered by that position and the role that Casemiro plays is impressive. He adds the touch and the technical side, and thanks to that the plays are created fluently... He is an intelligent player of the highest intellectual level. And he takes care of himself as an athlete, when it comes to food, lifestyle, nights out. He knows that there is a moment for everything.”

Neymar and his injuries

When discussing Neymar, Tite's only concern is the injuries. That is why he believes it was a good idea that PSG decided to rest him for the last few matches so he would be ready for the Dortmund game last Tuesday.

“I understand the situation. Neymar has had a history of injuries. In last season’s Champions League, he was injured, he did not play and PSG were knocked out. So why is he going to play in the French league, which is practically won? I understand that the club does not want to run the risk of an injury to its most important player.”